13 July 2020
Stamp Duty Land Tax (Temporary Relief) Bill Committee Stage

Jesse Norman moves the Bill.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jesse Norman)

This Bill increases the nil rate band of stamp duty land tax from £125,000 to £500,000 from 8 July 2020 and runs until 31 March 2021. If I may, I will speak to clauses 1 and 2, and also to new clause 1 tabled in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.

This Bill contains two clauses. Clause 1 provides for the thresholds at which stamp duty land tax is due on residential property to be increased for a temporary release period, with effect from 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. The effect of this is that the first £500,000 of consideration for standard purchases of residential property will be free of tax, whereas previously only the first £125,000 was free of tax. The clause changes the rules in relation to other elements of stamp duty land tax, which are affected by the temporary holiday, such as the higher rate for the purchase of additional properties and first-time buyers’ relief. The higher rate traditional dwellings will continue to apply in addition to the standard rates of stamp duty land tax. This means that for purchase of additional dwellings, the first £500,000 of the consideration will be subject to the higher rates of 3% on top of any existing SDLT rates. Further, the clause ensures that section 57B and schedule 6ZA of the Finance Act 2003, which gives effect to first-time buyers’ relief, is temporarily disregarded until 31 March 2021.

Finally, the clause makes sure that no additional checks will be due when a contract is completed after the temporary relief period has ended, if the transaction was substantially performed within the temporary relief period. This is provided that the only reason for additional tax becoming due is the return to the standard rates of SDLT after the end of the temporary relief period.

Clause 2 provides that the Bill may be cited as the Stamp Duty Land Tax (Temporary Relief) Bill. The Bill comes into force on Royal Assent, but applies in relation to transactions with an effective date on or after 8 July 2020. ​As a result of the resolutions passed by the House of Commons under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968, the Bill’s provisions have effectively been in force since the 8 July 2020.

I shall briefly turn to Labour’s new clause 1, which calls for a review of the impact of the Act. To that I would respond that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs routinely publishes quarterly and annual statistics and analysis of stamp duty land tax data, including on first-time buyers and those purchasing additional dwellings. The Government also already closely monitor those statistics and keep stamp duty policy under constant review. As part of that, we will continue to examine the effect of the temporary rate change. This is a straightforward Bill to enact the temporary relief to stamp duty land tax announced last week by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. I therefore commend clauses 1 and 2 to the House and ask the House to reject new clause 1.